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'An inflection point in history': Biden urges action at UN climate summit

President Joe Biden
Posted at 8:16 AM, Nov 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-01 12:22:26-04

President Joe Biden arrived Monday at a consequential U.N. climate summit in Scotland — a meeting that's being touted as the "last best chance" to save the world from the devastating effects of man-made climate change.

Biden addressed leaders at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, calling on the summit to be the "kickoff of a decade of innovation" regarding reducing greenhouse emissions.

"We're standing at an inflection point in history," Biden said.

During his address on Monday, Biden touted the climate initiatives his administration has proposed during his short time in office, including an infrastructure package that would incentivize companies to reduce emissions.

He noted that a move to green energy presented an economic opportunity that the world could not afford to pass up.

"When I talk to the American people about climate, I tell them it's about jobs," Biden said.

Despite Biden's optimism, many of his proposed climate change initiatives have already been gutted from a proposed social services spending bill being debated by Congress, where Democrats only hold a razor-thin majority. Those initiatives, which would have incentivized power companies to invest in renewable energy, were nixed by Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from the conservative coal state of West Virginia.

However, Biden and European Union leaders on Sunday did announce an agreement that pledged the countries would cut back on the imports of steel imports from China to curb the power of the country's coal-powered mills.

Biden closed his address Monday by noting that despite the dangers already presented by climate change, he remained hopeful that the world could ban together to reduce emissions.

"We can do this; we just have to make a choice to do it," he said.

Biden arrived in Scotland after spending time in Rome over the weekend attending the G20 summit. According to CNN, joining Biden in Glasgow are 13 of his cabinet members — a huge contingent representing "a show of force" for other world leaders.

During his trip to Scotland, Biden will pressure UN leaders to step up enforcement measures against other world powers, like China, India and Russia. In fact, Chinese President Xi Jinping chose not to attend the COP26 summit, CNN reports.

The AP reports that European leaders are "happy" to see Biden leading the U.S. back into the climate change discussion following four years of the Trump Administration, which took steps to undo the U.S.'s involvement in international climate change initiatives.